Co-operative Assistance Network Limited

The CAN c.v.

1989

CAN is launched. Its mission is “to assist the development of co-operatives and social enterprises”.

Essex County Council enters into a contract with CAN to provide co-operative development services.

1990

Training for people aiming to establish new enterprises is set up with an adult community college. This collaborative approach is repeated regularly with colleges, business and technology centres.

1991

CAN starts a continuing theme assisting development and piloting of new training – the Co-operative Certificate of Business Administration.

1992

CAN launches programmes to enable women considering a return to work to examine their options and for women already in work to challenge the “glass ceiling” and enter management roles.

1993

CAN carries out its first project with disabled people to create employment opportunities – CAN begins working with social firms.

1994

CAN provides consultancy to a successful worker buy-out of a failing manufacturing business, beginning CAN's work on buyouts.

1995

A study identifies support needs and potential for growth of a local social enterprise sector. A funding bid to the (then) dti brings funding for development of an innovative training programme addressing these needs.

1996

CAN and Suffolk County Council collaborate to launch SUCCESS (Suffolk Co-operative and Community Enterprise Support Service). The launch conference is a sell-out. Within months new co-operatives and community enterprises are launched.

1997

Housing co-operatives in Brighton commission a training package on democratic management of housing co-operatives.

CAN is part of the team that originates and pilots the “Training For Growth” programme for small enterprises addressing growth and change.

1998

CAN carries out a feasibility study and business planning exercise on behalf of a Regeneration Partnership that results in the establishment of a craft-workers co-operative. This marks the beginning of increasing CAN involvement with regeneration projects.

CAN are consultants in the set up of East Anglia Food Link, increasing involvement in rural issues and sustainable agriculture.

1999

Greenwich CDA become CAN’s one hundredth customer when CAN takes on delivery of a part of their social enterprise start-up project.

CAN is part of a trans-European partnership to develop a training and support resource for people establishing social firms (Social Enterprise Employment Development).

2000

CAN develops the Credit Union variant of the Co-operative Certificate of Business Administration and pilots it as part of a successful project to establish a new Credit Union in Hertfordshire.

2001

On behalf of Social Firms UK, CAN develops a regional support organisation and obtains its first project funding.

CAN provides business planning and management systems consultancy to Greenwich Credit Union, one of the first to achieve registration with the (then) FSA.

2002

CAN launches the Social Enterprise Start-Up Programme, accredited by the Open College Network (OCN), to empower social entrepreneurs to establish sustainable social enterprises.

2003

CAN is a founder member of South-East Co-operative Support, the first consortium of co-operative development bodies in the UK, as the first step in developing such consortia across regions and trade sectors.

2004

CAN completes a feasibility study into the provision of a Social Enterprise Business Incubator in Bournemouth.

CAN carries out research and analysis to produce a policy recommendation for a Social Enterprise Support Delivery System for the West of England.

2005

Mapping exercises establish the extent and nature of the social economy in South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset. A Development Needs Analysis of the Bristol Co-operative Sector is carried out. Using this benchmark study, CAN analyses and outlines how an “excellent service” can be created to meet these needs.

Community Development Workers and local champions in Southampton receive Introduction to Social Enterprise Development Training to enable them to recognise potential for social enterprise development and work with local groups through the early stages of the development process.

Business Link commissions CAN to deliver support to new-start co-operatives and social enterprises in Dorset.

2006

A 4-day variant of the Social Enterprise Start Up training programme is delivered to clients of Business Link across Dorset, Hampshire, and Isle of Wight, with Master Classes in Funding & Investment Acquisition and Social Accounting.

As a member of South East Co-operative Support, CAN delivers training and consultancy funded by South East England Development Agency and European Social Fund, a programme that is re-funded for the following two years.

2007

Business Links’ consultants across South East England attend CAN's Introduction to Social Enterprise training.

CAN is engaged by Co-operatives UK to work on production of the Worker Co-operative Code of Good Governance.

CAN provides professional development training piloting the OCN accredited Co-operative and Social Enterprise Development Worker Training Programme.

2008

CAN provides development assistance to co-operatives across South East England through a project funded by the Co-operative Fund bringing a glowing report from the external assessor and helping to develop a model of high productivity, low cost service provision.

CAN develops a training programme to assist people with moderate and severe learning difficulties to participate in business governance and management decisions.

Governance Training programmes in London receive standing ovations from paying participants.

2009

CAN becomes a key component of the delivery system as the Co-operative Enterprise Hub is launched.

CAN develops Quality Systems and Quality Auditing functions for regional consortia.

2010

CAN moves into Direct Provision of Services such as Company Secretary services, accounting, preparation of year end accounts, personnel administration and representation at Industrial Tribunal.

2011

CAN becomes an Open Source organisation and begins release of its tools to other Co-operative Development Bodies. These are rapidly taken up across the UK.

2012

CAN designs the Co-operative City concept and manages the delivery of a pilot project in Southampton.

Alternative Energy Co-operatives benefit from CAN research into VAT, clawing back tens of thousands in taxes.

2013

CAN becomes a Credit Union Development Body providing a full range of support services to Credit Unions.

Agreement with chartered accountants delivers expert auditing service for Co-operative Societies and Community Benefit Societies.

Financial projection tools for alternative energy co-operatives are developed.

2014

CAN helps to establish Development Co-operative (the national consortium of co-operative development bodies) and the Credit Union Support Organisation UK – initiatives which will have a significant impact on development of the social economy in years to come.

CAN is contracted to research the resources and links and author the advice and guidance content of the new Social Business Wales web site.

2015

CAN begins delivery of training and consultancy services to enable social enterprises to expand and enhance their services and source investment within the framework of the Big Potential programme and for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations to develop within the framework of the Big Assist Programme.

CAN is accepted as a Technical Support Provider for the Community Economic Development Programme.

2016

CAN is approved as Preferred Providers to Co-operatives UK for The Hive Business Support Programme.

CAN is appointed Consultant Organisation to 3-year, £11m Social Business Wales support programme.

Co-operative Assistance Network Limited

is a registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014

 No. 30714R 

Registered address: The Coach House, 2 Upper York Street, Bristol BS2 8QN 
VAT Reg. No. UK 550 0276 78
DUNS 218127940

UKPRN 10028405
MLR Reg. No. 12704615
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